The next morning I packed up and set out. I intended to make a quick run through Artists Drive, after which I would head up to the Stovepipe Wells and Scotty's Castle.
So about a quarter of the way into Artists Drive, things get interesting. It's a one-way, one lane road through some of the mountains on the edge of the basin. Things get pretty tight, really fast. Unfortunately on one turn, they got a little too tight for me.
Now I'd like to say there was gravel on the road, or I was too tired, or whatever other excuse I could come up with... but in all honesty it was 100% target fixation. It was a steep uphill with a right-hander immediately after the hill crests. In no way was I going too fast to take this turn. I just fixated on the gravel on the outside, rather than looking through the turn and leaning it over.
Pretty much as soon as I hit the gravel I went down. I fell off to the right, and the bike fell on my right leg. I'm full ATTGAT, so no rash or cuts. My leg hurt like hell, though. I spent a couple minutes laying in the gravel cursing myself for wiping out, and then the next 10 minutes or so trying to figure out how to get the bike up. With my leg hurting like it was, there was no way I was going to be able to get the bike up myself. Luckily someone came along the drive not too long after and helped me get the bike upright. At that point I just had to work it out of the rut it had dug itself into, and then I gingerly set off through the rest of the drive.
At that point I figured it was time to call my trip done, so I filled up at the gas station in Furnace Creek ($5.18/gal for regular unleaded), and then it was off to the shortest route home.
Unfortunately I was really only able to put my right leg in one position to get it on the footpeg without hurting too much. This meant that I wasn't able to shift around in the saddle, which made the stock seat even more unbearable pretty quickly. I eventually had to stop off in Pahrump, NV, because I could not stand to be on the bike any longer. At that point the adrenaline had worn off and my leg was pretty swollen, so attempting to walk was excruciating. I basically hobbled into a Panda Express for lunch. I ate only half of it because I had no real appetite, but I must have sat there for over an hour. I really didn't want to get back on the bike.
Eventually I did get back on the bike, because I had to get home. The stoplights on the way between Pahrump and home were actually a blessing, as they allowed me to stand up with the good leg and relieve some of the pain in my rear. Rather than going home, I stopped at my Mom's house. Once there I hobbled inside, grabbed her spare set of crutches (don't ask), and waited for her to get home so I could grab a lift to the hospital.
The revised route:
(FYI, apparently mentioning that you were in a motorcycle accident is a good way to get to the front of the line in the ER waiting room. I got wheeled straight back to the trauma ward, though I swear there were others in the waiting room that looked worse off than I did).
A few hours and a few tests later, the prognosis was a fractured tibia, some pretty severe ligament strain (but no tears), and a lot of swelling. The gear really did its job, and the only real damage was the result of the bike falling on my leg.
As far as the bike goes, the right side fairings are pretty scraped up, and the rear brake pedal is all bent up. Still the bike rode perfectly straight and had no trouble getting me home. It really is a brilliant bike. Just too bad that its rider is worthless.
I probably wont fix the fairings right away. It'll be a nice little reminder that I need to practice more and get better. Hopefully I wont lose my mind being basically immobile for the next 4-6 weeks. I'll have to spend my time living vicariously through everyone else.